2015 NBA Draft Grades

NBA draft was both exciting and rewarding for fans and their teams Photo Courtesy: Youtube
This year’s NBA draft was both exciting and rewarding for fans and their teams.
Photo Courtesy: YouTube

By: Matthew Behrndt

The NBA Draft is different compared to the popular NFL Draft for a few reasons. One reason is the excitement built up isn’t at the same level since the NFL is more popular with the masses. Secondly, after about the 10th pick in the second round most of the picks are long shots to even make the roster. That being said the NBA Draft is the second most watched draft behind the NFL and franchises can be reignited with one great pick. Below are my grades for the teams and thoughts on their draft picks.

Minnesota Timberwolves – Karl Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones – Grade: A
Minnesota had a big problem; size. They fixed that by getting a large man in Towns who is capable of hitting jumpers and even free throws. Towns will be learning under the great Kevin Garnett on how to groom his game and take it to the next level. Tyus Jones is also a solid pick with already having Rubio as the starter. Jones is a solid backup that will help give Rubio rest and should be effective offensively off the bench.

Los Angeles Lakers – D’Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr. and Anthony Brown – Grade: A-
The Lakers are in desperate need of talented players around an aging Kobe Bryant. They got arguably the best player in the draft in Russell who will contribute right away. He’s is a huge talent and could be the next big thing. This is going to excite Laker nation with his passing and scoring ability. Larry Nance Jr. out of Wyoming, the son of the dunk champion Larry Nance is a solid pick who will be a role player with his athletic ability off the bench. Brown is a good shooter from Stanford who has a solid chance of making the squad.

Philadelphia 76ers – Jahlil Okafor, Willy Hernangomez, Richaun Holms, Arturas Gudaitis, J.P. Tokoto and Luka Mitrovic – Grade: B-
The 76ers had the most picks in this year’s draft and they used only one well. They went and got the last top 3 player in the draft. Even though they already have good depth at center you can’t pass up on a talent like Okafor. He has the most rounded post game out of all the postmen and will be looking to start the first game as Embiid is still a question mark. For the rest of the players drafted they got more size which they didn’t need. They also got Tokoto who is a top athletic talent in this draft and has a real shot at making the squad as a defensive specialist.

New York Knicks – Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant – Grade: B
Knicks fans aren’t happy, but maybe they shouldn’t be so quick to judge. Porzingis isn’t going to make an immediate impact and may not make an impact at all. However, he could be the next great European talent and turn out to be a great pick and make Phil Jackson look really good. Grant will also make an immediate impact as a defender and shooter and will be competing for some solid minutes.

Orlando Magic – Mario Hezonja and Tyler Harvey – Grade: C+
The Magic have been notorious to not be great at drafting. This year they drafted a tall solid mature shooter from Europe who can help balance the floor with Oladipo and Peyton who are more of slashers. Harvey led the NCAA in scoring and will add a new dimension to an already quick fast-paced team. In all, nothing exciting but Hezonja has a high ceiling and could really help a struggling shooting Orlando team.

Sacramento Kings – Willy Cauley-Stein – Grade: B-
So much speculation around the Kings with tension with Karl and Cousins and the drafting of Stein doesn’t help alleviate the situation at all. Stein is primarily a defensive threat with little to no offensive game and with a team that struggled to score inside even with Cousins, this pick seems a little of a reach.

Denver Nuggets – Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Radicevic – Grade: B+
The Nuggets already have a talented starting five but with Lawson seemingly moving on, Mudiay fits right in to what they are trying to do. Mudiay has the potential to be great with his size and athletic ability he should do very well in this league. Radicevic will be solid off the bench as he should be the back up point guard.

Detroit Pistons – Stanley Johnson and Darrun Hilliard – Grade: B-
Johnson is a winner but his size has worked to his benefit in both high school and college. He needs to work on his shooting but he is good defensively and knows how to get to the rim. Hilliard is a shooter that will make a impact off the bench.

Charlotte Hornets – Frank Kaminsky – Grade: C
The Hornets needing shooting badly and Winslow was still on the board. Kaminsky can shoot but he struggles defensively. He has good low post offensive skills but it will be tougher against more athletic big men. His greatest asset is the ability to stretch the floor.

Miami Heat – Justice Winslow and Josh Richardson – Grade: A
The Heat and the brilliance of Pat Riley are at it again getting a top-5 talent with the 10th overall pick. Not only did they get a good player but he fits perfectly into their system and will work harder than anyone. Winslow will also get guidance from Wade as the torch is going to be passed on. Richardson will be a good defensive impact player off the bench.

Indiana Pacers – Myles Turner and Joseph Young – Grade: B
It’s weird to say but Young helped raise the grade for the Pacers. Turner is a good player but he’s not a top-15 talent. He has good defense but really needs to work on his offensive game. Young who was the Pac-12 Player of the Year could light up the scoreboard at any minute. He has great shooting ability and will be a threat off the bench.

Utah Jazz – Trey Lyles and Olivier Hanlan – Grade: D+
Utah didn’t have a great night. Lyles is talented but he isn’t big enough to bang inside with other power forwards and doesn’t have the 3-point shooting to help him stretch the defense. Hanlan isn’t a top threat shooting but has a good shot at making the team.

Phoenix Suns – Devin Booker – Grade: B+
The Suns needed a shooter, and what did they get, a shooter. Booker seems to have been overlooked by many teams but he is a knock down shooter with sneaky athletic ability. He will make a huge impact for a team fighting for a playoff spot.

Oklahoma City Thunder – Cameron Payne and Dakari Johnson – Grade: A
The Thunder had a great draft. They got a solid backup point guard to give Westbrook some rest as well as keep a solid talented player still in the lineup. Johnson was a great pick late in the draft, he adds size and defense to an already large group in the back-court. With Durant coming back fully healthy the Thunder will be competing for a ring.

Atlanta Hawks – Marcus Eriksson and Dimitrios Agravanis – Grade: C- 
They got Tim Hardaway Jr. in a trade but that’s pretty much all the got. They are trying to save cap room to resign Millsap but they could have done more and selected a better player. Hardaway Jr. can score but lacks in defense but the Hawks are already stacked and in a weak East more scoring doesn’t hurt.

Boston Celtics – Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, Jordan Mickey, Marcus Thorton – Grade: B+
The Celtics needed young fresh talent and they did just that. They brought in a scorer in Rozier who can get his shot off at anytime. Hunter is an all-around player that will help off the bench immediately. Mickey has the potential to be a solid NBA player with good size and good post up moves he will help a young Celtics team.

Milwaukee Bucks – Rashad Vaughn – Grade: B-
Vaughn can score but the Bucks probably reached on him, but a young budding playoff team could use the help of a point guard that can pass but also knows how to put the ball in the basket. They also acquired Greivis Vasquez who is a solid established player.

Houston Rockets – Sam Dekker and Montrzel Harrell – Grade: A
The Rockets got a lot better with this draft. They went and got the new Chandler Parsons and a physical presence in Harrell who will gobble up rebounds and bring defensive intensity.

Washington Wizards – Kelly Oubre and Aaron White – Grade: B
Oubre is a solid player who struggled with hustle at Kansas. If he works as hard as he did at the end of the year he will be a good edition to a talented Wizards squad complementing Beal and Wall.

Toronto Raptors – Delon Wright and Norman Powell – Grade: B
They lost Vasquez so they picked up a long point guard that can defend and will step right in and help the Raptors with his passing and defense ability.

Dallas Mavericks – Justin Anderson and Satnam Singh – Grade: C+
Anderson is a solid player with really good defensive abilities, but the Mavericks need scoring and Anderson just doesn’t give you that. He can step in right away but Dallas really needs scoring after Monta Ellis opted out of his contract.

Chicago Bulls – Bobby Portis – Grade: B
Portis who was the SEC Player of the Year has good upside because he has the ability to shoot as well as go inside and score off the block. He is capable at defense but with his size and toughness he is sure to fit in well with the Bulls.

Portland Trailblazers – Pat Connaughton and Daniel Diez – Grade: B-
They gave up Batum, Blake and Hollis Jefferson for Mason Plumlee and Connaughton. Now this isn’t a bad trade, it actually is pretty decent because Plumlee is very good. What this tells Portland fans is that Aldridge probably isn’t coming back and that is going to hurt.

Cleveland Cavaliers – Cedi Osman, Rakeem Christmas and Sir’Dominic Porter – Grade: B
This draft was about clearing up cap space it seems but they got solid defenders. All three of these players are good defensively especially Porter which is all he really does. With a healthy team next year these players will provide much needed defense.

Memphis Grizzlies – Jarell Martin and Andrew Harrison – Grade: B+
The Grizzlies got a solid point guard as well as a tremendous scorer who will help a struggling offensive team. These players are also going to keep that strong defensive mentality that the Grizzlies are known for.

San Antonio Spurs – Nikola Milutinov and Cady Lalanne – Grade: B
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The Spurs have relied on European talent so far and it has worked pretty well so why stop now… These are two big guys that will help seal up the middle.

Brooklyn Nets – Chris McCullough and Ronde Hollis-Jefferson – Grade: B+
They also acquired Steve Blake who is a solid back up point guard. Both these players are athletic SF/PF that will help immediately for a struggling Nets offense but also their length will help tremendously on defense.

Golden State Warriors – Kevon Looney – Grade: A-
The defending champs who are not going to lose anybody just might have gotten the steal of the draft. With David Lee leaving, Looney comes right in and fills that role. He has the potential to be a really good player and has a full skill set.

Los Angeles Clippers – Brandon Dawson – Grade: B-
The Clippers didn’t have a draft pick but they traded with the Pelicans to get Dawson who will help replace Matt Barnes.